David Osborne is the director of the Reinventing America’s Schools Project at the Progressive Policy Institute. As of September, 2017 (the 25th anniversary of the opening of the first charter school), his new book on education reform has been released, Reinventing's America's Schools: Creating a 21st Century Education System. Learn more at ReinventingEd.us. Osborne is the author or co-author of seven books, including, The Price of Government: Getting the Results We Need in an Age of Permanent Fiscal Crisis (2004); The Reinventor's Fieldbook: Tools for Transforming Your Government (2000), Banishing Bureaucracy: The Five Strategies For Reinventing Government (1997), Reinventing Government (1992), and Laboratories of Democracy (1988). He has also authored numerous articles for the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the New York Times Magazine, Harpers, The New Republic, Inc., Governing, Education Week, and other publications.
From 1994 through 2014, Osborne was a senior partner of The Public Strategies Group, a consulting firm that helped public organizations improve their performance. He worked with governments large and small, from cities, counties, and school districts to states, federal agencies, and foreign governments. He lectured widely around the globe and advised presidents, ministers, governors, mayors, city managers and many other public sector leaders.
In 1993, he served as a senior advisor to Vice President Gore, to help run what the Vice President often called his "reinventing government task force," the National Performance Review. He was the chief author of the NPR report, which laid out the Clinton Administration’s reinvention agenda, called by Time "the most readable federal document in memory." In 2000 he served as an advisor to the Gore presidential campaign.
Osborne also serves as a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a Congressionally chartered organization similar to the National Academy of Sciences, and a member of the National Selection Committee for the Innovations in American Government Awards. From 1992 through 1997, he served as chairman of the Alliance for Redesigning Government, a National Academy initiative to help public sector leaders and managers at all levels of government learn more about reinvention and redesign.
He also served for seven years on the Mass Jobs Council, Massachusetts’ statewide workforce development board, where he chaired the One-Stop Career Center Committee, which led the development of One-Stop Career Centers in Massachusetts. In 1998-99 he served as a member of the Education Commission of the States' National Commission on Governing America's Schools.
Osborne’s first book, Laboratories of Democracy (Harvard Business School Press, 1988), described how states were pioneering new education, economic development, health care, housing, welfare and other policies, to respond to the wrenching shift from an industrial to an information-age economy. Reinventing Government, a New York Times bestseller, described how public sector institutions all across America were transforming the bureaucratic models they had inherited from the past, making public organizations more flexible, creative, and entrepreneurial. Banishing Bureaucracy outlined the most powerful strategies available to create such organizations. It's sequel, The Reinventor's Fieldbook, fleshed out that picture by providing "how-to" guidance on more than 70 different tools reinventors can use, from performance management and customer service standards to competitive bidding and labor-management partnerships. Osborne’s 2004 book, The Price of Government, applied many of these ideas to the fiscal crisis then affecting the public sector, which Osborne and his co-author, Peter Hutchinson, argued would be with us for decades to come.
Op-eds and Articles
If we were creating school systems from scratch, would we teach the same way we did 50 years ago, before the advent of personal computers? Would we send children to school for only eight-and-a-half months a year? Would we let schools survive if, year after year, a third of their students dropped out? Would we […]
In a recent media release, Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) announced they are looking for “quality partners” to launch innovation network schools for the 2018-2019 school year. IPS explains their innovation school network as a group of “public schools with expanded autonomy to make academic and operational decisions that will maximize student achievement. Innovation schools also […]
Op-eds and Articles
David Osborne’s eyes light up when he talks about proof. A nationally renowned public policy reformer who is most well known for writing the New York Times bestseller Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector, and who now serves as a director of the forward-thinking Reinventing America’s Schools project at the […]
Op-eds and Articles
Since President Obama’s Race to the Top competition made teacher evaluation systems based in part on academic growth a central requirement of winning, most states have mandated them. Making teachers accountable for student success is a laudable goal, but district-wide approaches don’t usually work. Most teachers regard evaluations as part of a bureaucratic checklist that […]
Last week, the National Education Association (NEA) voted to adopt a new policy statement on public charter schools. Ignoring mounting evidence that the best charter systems are finally giving urban children a shot at a decent education, the NEA calls for a moratorium on the creation and expansion of public charter schools. The NEA says […]
Op-eds and Articles
In 2013, employees at Bruce Randolph High School sent an open letter to the superintendent of Denver Public Schools, complaining about the district’s mandatory discipline policies. “The disproportionate amount of time and resources that in the past would have been spent on improving instruction is instead spent by our entire staff, including administrators, instructional team, […]
PPI In the News
Over the past decade, a growing number of urban school districts have responded to the presence of charter schools by providing some of their own schools the same flexibilities that charters enjoy. But few have gone as far as Indianapolis, where the district is now authorizing what it calls innovation network schools: districts schools that […]
Op-eds and Articles
Mayoral charters and innovation schools expand choice Our urban school systems struggle because so many of their students live in poverty, but they also struggle because they were designed a hundred years ago for an industrial society. In an increasing number of cities, they are being replaced by twenty-first century systems, in which the central […]
Charters offer students over the age of 18 an alternative path to graduating high school When people think about education, they usually focus on kindergarten through 12th grade, or perhaps higher education. But there are more than 30 million adults without high school diplomas, and the publicly funded adult education system can serve only two million […]
The U.S. Senate will soon vote on the nomination of Betsy DeVos, and it appears the vote may be a 50-50 tie, in which case Vice President Pence will break the tie. We believe DeVos’s confirmation would be a mistake, and we urge senators to vote against it. She supports the idea that every student […]
RT @MichaelMandel: Paul Bledsoe shows how US and China can work together to address climate change, and why Trump is making a big mis… https://t.co/pWCMikFd2B